*Graphic Warning* The Forgotten Story Behind Bushmeat – The Plight of the Starving People of Zimbabwe

Society, in some areas, has been growing at an exponential rate. As we progress further into the 21st century some could say that we’ve been growing at such a breakneck pace that we often times forget about what’s going on in the world around us. This is unfortunate because we often times take things for granted and overlook issues that still plague humanity, like starvation.

In Zimbabwe the death of a bull elephant is a blessing.  Starving villagers are able to use every piece of the elephant for food, including the trunk and ears.  Even the bones are used as they are boiled for soup; within 24 hours there is nothing left of what was a 13ft Elephant.

The body of a dead Bull Elephant is discovered deep in the bush

Just moments later people from local villages arrive

An elephant such as this that succumbs to old age can provide an entire village with food.  Is the death of a giant of the savanna sad?  Yes, but this animal was not killed for two tusks, it was not slaughtered in order to sell ivory to fuel the worlds greed.  It was allowed to live its life, father children, and then, when its time came, its death blessed an entire village of starving men, women, and children with the food they need in order to survive.  This is the true circle of life; nothing of this elephant was wasted.  The entire body was used, and its life was not ended short in order for that to happen.

Villagers stand watching as men cut up and distribute meat

Everyone rushing in to get something to bring back home

Poaching destroys the ability for these giant, majestic animals and human beings to coexist on this planet.  Poachers kill without a thought for anything but the two tusks that they can remove; they don’t use the meat, they don’t use the bones, they don’t use the skin.  If an entire village can be fed for days on a single elephant, just image the amount of food that could be gleaned from the approximately 23,000 elephants that are killed each year by poachers.

Villagers stand by all that is left but bones, even that will be used

In Zimbabwe alone, 2.17 million people are starving, according to the Red Cross.  That is one in four people in dire need of food, but instead we in the West and Asia support the poachers by buying ivory piano keys, ivory canes, ivory chotchkies, etc. etc.

A lone villager stands where the carcass once stood

So, what do we value?  Pretty objects that are smooth and nice to touch, or the salvation of an entire continent of the largest land animals left on our planet and the people who share the land with them?  The decision is up to all of us to make, but personally, I can’t even believe that a decision between people’s and animal’s lives and petty possessions can actually exist.

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